Immigration Log Jam

Immigration Log Jam

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A proposal from two Republican senators may break the logjam on an immigration bill.

North Dakota‘s John Hoeven and Tennessee‘s Bob Corker have proposed doubling the Border Patrol and adding 700 miles of fence along the U-S boundary with Mexico. Indiana Senator Dan Coats says he‘s “trying to talk (himself) into” supporting it.

The Republican senator says the current situation is unacceptable, but says he wants to avoid a repeat of the last immigration reform effort, which he supported as a House member in 1986. He says that proposal failed to deliver on promises to tighten verification procedures in exchange for legalization of about half the illegal immigrants then in the U-S.

Coats says he‘d prefer a requirement that the U-S achieve border-security targets before the start of a 13-year “path to citizenship” for people illegally in the U-S. Texas Senator John Cornyn had proposed a trigger of 90-percent success in blocking illegal border crossings. Democrats blocked a vote on that amendment.

Coats has introduced his own version applying the 90-percent standard only on the parts of the border where most crossings take place.  The Hoeven-Corker amendment makes 90-percent success a goal, not a precondition.